Located on top of a vast underwater mountain range, the Maldives is a string of idyllic islands encircled by the translucent, ever-changing waters of the Indian Ocean. The complex and vibrant coral atolls truly live up to the hype – the sheer beauty of the coral reef, the cyan-blue waters, the skyline of coconut palm trees, whiter-than-white sand beaches, isolation, and inviting people all to contribute to this tropical oasis. Why wouldn’t you want to go?
Dive into the rich Maldivian waters, discovering overhangs, oddly-shaped pinnacles, underwater caves, and gardens of coral. Spot graceful turtles, whale sharks, reef manta rays, and even the colossal whale. Snorkel the lagoons among shoals of colourful fish inhabiting the underwater coral caverns. For those more comfortable above water, embark on a catamaran sailing trip, watch whales breach and dolphins frisk, or indulge in the island’s vibrant nightlife.
Malé is the throbbing heart of the Maldives. Extraordinary and densely crowded, it’s a stark contrast to the laid-back atmosphere found elsewhere in the country. The Malé Hukuru Miskiiy’s coral stone structure dates back to 1656, making it the oldest mosque in the country. Carved with Quranic script and intricate decorations, it commemorates the introduction of Islam to the Maldives.
Here are just 5 top reasons you need to visit the Maldives:
- Some of the world’s best diving and snorkelling sites
- Endless island adventures, making it great for families!
- Tropical climate, sunshine 365 days a year (some wetter than others)
- Memorable boat cruises between surrounding islands
- Romantic settings for honeymooners and lovers!
We've taken the liberty to answer everything you may need to know about visiting Maldives
Tranquil lagoons in infinite shades of blue, dazzling displays of reef fish amongst coral gardens, perfect white powdery beaches, palm trees and luxurious accommodation... which island you should visit should not be your question. Instead, it should be Where Can I Book My Ticket? With so many islands, each offering a similar experience, you really cannot go wrong, especially when you have our trusty team of Travel Experts to guide you in the right direction, ticking all of your tropical dream holiday boxes!
Whether you are looking for a holiday to escape the fast-paced life back home with your family, elope with your partner for a milestone anniversary, celebrate a new love journey, or even break away from your normal routine to read a book with the sound of waves in the background, the Maldives should be on your travel list!
Consisting of 1,190 islands, it forms an archipelago of 26 major atolls, each with its own charms. Few places in the world that can match its selection of exclusive island resorts, sensational diving sites, luxury boat cruises, palm-fringed beaches and picturesque postcard paradises! Most hotels are located on their own private or small island, which makes your holiday more exclusive and intimate before you have even arrived. They each have an excellent transportation system so visitors can easily reach other islands by means of boat or light-air transfer.
The Maldives is at least a 9-hour flight journey from Australia, 20 hours from the United States of America and a 14-hour flight journey from Johannesburg (South Africa). Therefore, it's possible to combine a stay in Africa with these Indian Ocean islands.
Getting to this remote location is fairly straightforward but does require a bit of planning – especially if you're dreaming of an African holiday with some downtime at the end before heading home. Of course, we have a number of other Indian Ocean islands closer to the African border, but if you are in the mood to combine Africa and Asia, then this is your stop, and our Travel Experts are here to help!
Upon arrival in the Maldives, take care of the formalities at the airport. Thereafter you will be met by a representative to guide you to paradise, by either speedboat or seaplane.
The dress code is generally casual in the Maldives – you're going to the beach after all! T-shirts, shorts, dresses and cotton clothing are most suitable for the warm, humid weather.
In Malé, the capital island and other inhabited islands, it's recommended that women wear modest clothing without baring too much skin. At the resorts, however, the dress code is no dress code at all — sandals, shorts, swimming trunks and light materials! Be sure to pack at least one more formal attire as you never know when you may need it for a themed night of celebrations or festive dinner! Of course, don't forget the beach essentials, and we've even given you a bit more to consider taking with you (you can never be too prepared!).
Remember to pack:
- Floating Sunglasses
- Foldable Sun Hat
- Beach Cover-Up
- Reef Safe Sunscreen
- SPF Lip Balm
- A Good Book or Kindle
- Beach Tote Bag
The official currency of the Maldives is the Rufiyaa (MRF) and Laaree. One Rufiyaa is equivalent to 100 laarees. To give an idea, currently, 1 USD is equivalent to 15 Rufiyaa, 1 EUR is equivalent to 18 Rufiyaa, and 1 GBP is equivalent to 20 Rufiyaa.
Commonly used credit cards in the Maldives include American Express, Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club, JCB and Euro Card. The US Dollar is the most commonly used foreign currency, so it is always good to have a Travel Card with USD loaded or to have some USD cash for small expenses and gratuities.
Payments in the resorts and hotels can be made in most hard currency in cash or card. However, we always try to recommend booking your trip on a "fully inclusive" basis for your stay to be covered upfront before you travel. Tipping at a resort where you have booked on a "fully inclusive" basis is not an obligation but always appreciated.
By booking and paying for your holiday on a "fully inclusive" basis before you travel, it allows you to have few to no worries about what you are spending during this portion of your trip. You can just relax, be present, and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you!
Safety should always be your number one priority when travelling – knowing where you are going, having a good idea of the area you will be visiting, and the people and culture you will be experiencing. The Maldives is a safe destination to travel to, but we always recommend that you be as prepared as possible when travelling to make your visit that much more enjoyable.
Before you go, make sure you take out comprehensive travel insurance and have an adequate health insurer covering for any necessary evacuation or medical treatment while you are abroad. Always consult your general practitioner before you travel to find out which vaccinations and other medications you will require for your trip, specific to you.
Visiting any island destination can instantly make you more relaxed and carefree, which is what we want for you, and you deserve it! But it is always advisable to be mindful of your personal belongings, even if you are staying at a Five Star resort. Rooms will have safes for you to store passports, cameras, cellphones, and any other valuable items during your stay.
The Maldives is primarily a Muslim country, and strict laws prohibiting alcohol and pork are enforced on the inhabited islands. Most of the resorts have special liquor licenses. However, a few resorts also operate as dry islands. Lucky for you, our knowledgeable Travel Experts can provide you with all the ins and outs on which islands offer which!
Dhivehi' is the local Indo-Arya language spoken in all parts of the Maldives, but English is widely spoken by Maldivians, and visitors can easily make themselves understood while visiting.
Are you thinking of travelling to the Maldives? Why not brush up on some commonly used phrases and greetings? We are here to help!
The Maldives has a vibrant and interesting history. However, we know little about the specifics before the country's conversion to Islam in 1153. The first settlers were most probably fishermen from the southwest coasts of India and the northwestern shores of Sri Lanka.
In the early days, many foreign travellers, mainly Arabs, had written about the kingdom of the Maldives. The pre-Muslim period is full of myths and legends, many of which are inconclusive due to the lack of evidence. This only makes this island getaway even more of an exciting adventure!
There was a massive influence from the Buddhist period, which has a significant impact on the country's development, many of which encompass the culture of the Maldives as we now know it to be today. Historically, the Maldives had strategic importance because of its location along the Spice Route and was the primary source of cowrie shells, which used to be the currency in Asia, alongside gold and silver.
Many timelines passed, and the Maldives became an Islamic country. This was followed by Portuguese explorers arriving, then the Dutch, and in 1887 the country became a British Protectorate but under self-governance. The Maldives gained total political independence from the British on 26 July 1965, and three years later, a new republic was inaugurated, and the sultanate abolished.
The greatest challenge facing the republic following this shift was the need for rapid economic development and modernisation. Since then, the country has flourished into a well-known tourist destination today, with over a million visitors each year! There is a concern around rising sea levels and the islands ever so slightly sinking each year that goes by – so make sure to visit paradise before it's too late!
No pre-arrival visa is required as it will be issued upon arrival. Visitors should possess a valid passport and a valid ticket to continue their journey out of the Maldives. Visitors will also need to have sufficient funds to cover expenses for the duration of their stay. This can come in the form of a confirmed reservation at a tourist resort or hotel or US$100 + $50/day.
Visitor’s visas issued on arrival will be valid for 30 days, provided they meet the requirements mentioned above.
Please ensure that you verify this information independently with the relevant embassy, high commission or consulate, as your consultant cannot be held liable for any errors.
Most transport in the Maldives occurs by plane and by boat – or in the island resorts, by golf buggy. The main airport in the Maldives is located on its own island. Therefore, many travellers simply connect quickly to their final destination by boat or seaplane or otherwise reach the mainland via a short ferry ride.
Only the capital city of Malé has roads, as we know them, while a few of the other islands have small tarmacked strips. Taxis are available, but why bother? As one of the most densely populated cities globally, visitors are better off traversing the island on foot. Overland transport on resort islands is by golf buggy and doesn’t present much of a problem as few of them take longer than 30 minutes to walk across!
Visitors can reach neighbouring islands by traditional dhow but are encouraged to do so through their resort as more often than not, guests can just use one of theirs. Visitors staying in Malé who want to charter a dhow to nearby islands will have to learn to negotiate, although on average they cost around MRf1500/day.
There are generally three types of electrical plug socket types in the Maldives. Namely, the ‘Type C’ European CEE 7/16 Europlug, the ‘Type G’ British BS-1363 or the ‘Type D’ Indian 5 amp BS-546. The tricky part is finding out which socket will be installed at your location! It’s recommended that you buy a universal travel adaptor that will allow your electrical appliances to be plugged in at either of these outlets, although many resorts provide adaptors, or otherwise visitors will find them readily available. Power outages are somewhat frequent on very remote islands, although this shouldn’t affect visitors as many hotels generate their own electricity.
Most islands in the Maldives have access to the internet. Malé, the mainland and capital, has no internet cafes, although normal cafes, coffee shops, and hotels often have Wi-Fi. Most of the island resorts have access to the internet, although this is rarely free for guests.
Most international mobile phone companies have roaming agreements in the Maldives, and coverage is decent across most islands. However, some blind spots exist owing to the unique layout of the country. The international dialling code for the Maldives is +960, and you can buy SIM cards at the Malé International Airport, and you can get top-ups in most island resort stores.
Visitors can send post in the Maldives via airmail. Post heading to western Europe often takes approximately one week, and office hours are 07:30-13:30 and 16:00-17:50 Saturday through to Thursday. Post offices are established on every inhabited island apart from those that have sub-post offices.
Want to know when the best time of year to visit is? Or if there are any dress codes that need to be adhered to? We’ve compiled a list of extra helpful tips and advice that may come in handy on your holiday to the Maldives:
- The weather plays an important role in this country, which is made up of 1% land and 99% sea. A long time ago, Maldivians created a system called nakaiy. It relates to the weather and is still in use today. It helps to determine optimal times to go fishing, travelling, or to plant crops.
- Each nakaiy is 13-14 days long and is divided into two seasons: Iruvai (north-east monsoon), which runs from December – April, promising very little rain, clear skies and lower humidity; and Hulhangu (south-west monsoon), which runs from May – September and is a wet season with rough seas and strong winds.
- The best time to visit the Maldives with regards to weather is between December and April. Unfortunately, this is also the high season, and so resorts are more expensive and, more often than not, fully booked.
- November and April are reportedly the best months to scuba dive.
- The majority of inhabitants in the Maldives are practising Muslims. As a result, there are strict laws that prohibit alcohol and pork, among other things. Some resorts do have special liquor licenses, while some operate as ‘dry’ islands. Be sure to double-check this information with us beforehand, depending on your preferences
- In true island-style, the dress code is generally casual. It is recommended that on the capital island and other inhabited islands, women dress modestly out of respect for the predominantly Muslim culture.
Before going on a trip, it’s essential to consult your doctor. It’s also vital to take out comprehensive travel and health insurance to cover all of your intended activities while on holiday in the Maldives. Here are some helpful health hints to bear in mind:
- It would be wise to ensure that your travel insurance covers all health-related emergencies, unscheduled seaplane or speedboat transfers and any potential risks related to scuba diving. Being a tropical island destination, you’ll want to make the most of your time there and not be hindered by incomprehensive travel insurance.
- Malaria has been eradicated in the Maldives in recent years, although other mosquito-borne diseases have been reported, such as dengue fever. There is no vaccination, but travellers can take preventative measures such as insect repellant and mosquito nets.
- The Maldives is a much-loved island paradise thanks to its wonderful climate and bright, sunny days. There is a downside, though: sunburn and sunstroke. Be sure to protect yourself from the sun and the heat by keeping hydrated and wearing sunblock.
- If you are considering ‘venturing off the beaten path’, be cautious about what food and drink you consume as typhoid and Hepatitis A can occur. Luckily, vaccines are available for those travellers eager to get a taste of authentic local cuisine.
Working with a new currency can be daunting, particularly when it might be one that you haven’t even heard of! But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here is all you need to know about money matters while enjoying your holiday in the magical Maldives:
- The currency is the Rufiyaa (MRf) and Laari. 1 Rufiyaa = 100 laarees. Rufiyaa banknotes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 500. Coins come in denominations of MRf.2.00, MRf.1.00 and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 laarees.
- Travellers can pay with cash or with a credit card, and most major island resorts – along with local and souvenir shops, will accept American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa (although arrangements vary from island to island). Many resorts will also accept payment in most hard currency, although the US Dollar is the most commonly used
- ATMs are widely available on Malé.
- Adults (16+ years old) can transport 200 cigarettes/25 cigars/250g of tobacco and goods to the value of MRf6, 000 duty-free into the Maldives
- Major currencies are easily exchanged at banks, resort islands, hotels, and prominent shops.
- There are no restrictions regarding the import and export of local and or foreign currency.
- Bank hours are from 07:30 – 14:30, Sundays to Thursdays.